Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Skew (2011)

Fear 5/5
Gore 1/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 5/5

I'm going to declare 2011 the year of the found footage flick on this here interwebs page. I've seen and reviewed a total of 7. Not every film was released this year (and not all of them were good). But as the format has become all the rage, both older and newer films alike are gaining more notoriety and recognition. Enter Skew. A unique take on the sub-genre, it's a terrifying tale of the supernatural as one young man becomes a conduit for death.

A trio of young twenty somethings (Simon, Rich and Eva) set out on a much anticipated road trip. The group have long looked forward to it. It's a chance for them to get away for awhile and eventually, celebrate their pal's nuptials. Simon decides to record the trip and the events of the next few days with a camera he's recently purchased. What starts off as your average road trip with friends bantering and joking, enjoying the open road, soon becomes a case of the strange and inexplicable when Simon begins to see distorted images through his camera. More specifically, as they make stops along the way, he sees the distorted faces of folks that he comes into contact with. But when he plays back the video, the images look normal.

What is initially played off as an odd occurrence soon turns to full on paranoia for Simon when the hotel clerk is found dead. If that wasn't enough, a bus full of tourists meet a grisly demise when he turns the camera on them as the trio drive down a country road. But they read of the incident at a gas station in the local paper the next day. Simon becomes rattled but Rich shrugs it off as mere coincidence. It's not until a gas station attendant meets his demise and they're hauled into the local authorities office that they get to a point where they don't want Simon to film anything anymore.

In between the deaths and their stops along the way, Simon sees the people who've died through his lens as he continues to film. When he takes his eye off the camera, they're gone and neither Rich nor Eva can see what he sees: either with their bare eyes or through the same lens. One particular scare plays to great effect as Simon sees the hotel clerk in the corner of their room.

Despite pleas to stop from Rich and Eva, Simon continues to film everything as they continue to travel. At some point, they stop at a deserted gas station for a bathroom break. It's here where things escalate between all three. The events, although initially ignored by Rich and Eva, begin to wear on their psyche and Simon becomes completely unhinged. After a brutal attack is committed, the end to our film sees things go back in time as we learn why Simon's girlfriend did not accompany them on the trip. With the camera rolling, they both engage in an argument. As things get heated, she storms off and the camera pans around a room and stops at a bedside mirror. The reflection.....well, I'll just stop right here. Let's just say the ending will stay with you for days. Along with his impetus for why he chose to buy a camera in the first place (which is revealed during one of their hotel stops), you begin to piece things together. Although your interpretation of the film's chilling closing moments and what they mean in the context of the film may vary from mine.

It's not very often that a horror film will stay with you for days along with rattling your nerves so bad that it'll be hard to sleep that night. And I love films that question particular notions. In the case of Skew, it's those notions of death which will strike a chord and linger.

The film can be currently viewed via Netflix streaming:  

Cortez the Killer


Emily said...

I enjoyed this one quite a bit also. I'm growing weary of found footage, but Skew was crafted quite well and created a wonderful sense of the eerie.

Ben said...

As you said in your review (i.e., no spoilers here), I understand that there was something majorly significant about what was in the mirror at the end, but to be honest I really couldn't tell what the hell I was looking at. I'm not seeing the twist, and I feel like a moron!

Also, great site; I recently stumbled across it and you've quickly worked your way into my regularly-visited horror blogs. Will there be a review of Livide coming soon?

Planet of Terror said...

@Emily, just when I think I've become exhausted by the format, films like this come along and renew my faith in it. There is something about it which automatically brings a sense of realism even though I know it's not. Of course, you have to have a great story and relatable characters which this film definitely has.

@Ben, thanks for checking us out. I wouldn't say it's a twist per se. More like a revelation of who or what he is. *SPOILER ALERT* I think he was death personified.

Thanks for the kind words. I'm dying to see Livid. I think it's still making the festival rounds. I'm hoping a distributor reaches out to me soon and I can procure a screener copy :)

Planet of Terror said...

P.S. That's not really a spoiler I guess. Folks will undoubtedly draw their own conclusions. That's just my interpretation from my pea sized brain.

Unknown said...

Just wanted to say that after some minor obsessing on my end over what I wasn't seeing, I managed to get into contact with Mr. Schelenz himself - I now realize that I wasn't picking up on the revelation because (**WARNING - possible spoiler alert?**) I was neglecting to think about the critical aspect of the camera's playback! Thanks Seve! Nice guy, by the way.

Ben said...

Oh yeah, and the above comment was from me, Ben.